Govt seeking $500 million to support STEM educ

Ms Christine Lagarde (inset)addressing stakeholders at the conference

Ms Christine Lagarde (inset)addressing stakeholders at the conference

Government is seeking $500 million from international donors and other partners to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, disclosed this in an interview with some journalists after the closing ceremony of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “The Future of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa” conference said the Ministry of Education would be leading the charge to raise the amount.

The day’s conference which formed part  of activities of the two-day working visit of  Ms Christine Lagarde, the IMF Managing Director,  to Ghana  is on  the theme, “Looking Ahead to Chart Today’s Course:  The Future of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He explained that part of the money would be used to fund STEM educational infrastructure and rehabilitate science and technology laboratories in the country.

The Minister said the era where the focus was on the creation of big companies to employ hundreds of people were gone, adding that “currently, the emphasis is on building entrepreneurs who can create their own jobs.”

Mr Ofori-Atta said the current global economy was driven by technology, and there was therefore, the need to reform the country’s educational system to focus on science and technology, and build the capacities of students to be creators and inventors like their counterparts in the developed economies.

To this end, he said government was partnering with Mauritius to establish technology hubs in the country, and pledged that government would create a congenial environment of financial technology and technology industries to thrive.

Earlier in a panel discussion moderated by the IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, the panelists called on African governments to create an enabling environment for the technology eco-space to develop.

According to the panelists, Ethel Cofie, the Chief Executive officer (CEO) and Founder of EDEL Technology Consulting, Ghana, Ms Rebecca Enonchong, CEO of AppsTech, Cameroon, and Ms Michaella Rugwizangoga, CEO of VW Mobility Solutions, Rwanda, were unanimous on the need for the governments to make huge investment in the technology sector to change the current arrangement where the region was largely consumers instead of creators of technology.

Ms Lagarde said technology would influence the work and governments in the sub-region need to put structures in place to harness the potentials associated with technology.

She commended the government for working hard to put the economy in better shape, stressing that the economy currently was in a better position than it was two years ago.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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